Reducing Child Mortality in the Last Mile: A Randomized Social Entrepreneurship Intervention in Uganda
We conducted a cluster randomized trial of the effects of the integrated community case management of childhood illness (iCCM) strategy on careseeking for and coverage of correct treatment of suspected pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria, and mortality among children aged 2-59 months in 31 districts of the Oromia region of Ethiopia. We conducted baseline and endline coverage and mortality surveys approximately 2 years apart, and assessed program strength after about 1 year of implementation. Results showed strong iCCM implementation, with iCCM-trained workers providing generally good quality of care. However, few sick children were taken to iCCM providers (average 16 per month). Difference in differences analyses revealed that careseeking for childhood illness was low and similar in both study arms at baseline and endline, and increased only marginally in intervention (22.9-25.7%) and comparison (23.3-29.3%) areas over the study period (P = 0.77). Mortality declined at similar rates in both study arms. Ethiopia's iCCM program did not generate levels of demand and utilization sufficient to achieve significant increases in intervention coverage and a resulting acceleration in reductions in child mortality. This evaluation has allowed Ethiopia to strengthen its strategic approaches to increasing population demand and use of iCCM services.